Have you ever wanted to make a change, only to quit weeks (or days) later because it felt like you were failing? It might be because you tried changing the behavior without first trying to change your mindset. If you’re ready to start finding real change, check out this excerpt from Pastor Craig Groeschel’s new book, Winning the War in Your Mind.
I entered into full-time ministry as a 23-year-old married man. I was also a full-time seminary student. My wife and I started multiplying like rabbits. I worked nonstop. I would go months without taking a single day off. Every day, I was the first one to work and the last one to leave. I went years without taking a real vacation.
For a long time I believed my work ethic was a God-honoring way to live. One evening I was working late at the office again. My daughter Catie called. I promised her I’d be home soon to play with her. Catie replied with sadness, “Daddy, you don’t live at home. You live at the office.”
As soon as I heard her innocent but honest statement, time stood still. It was hard to breathe. God got my attention through my little girl. I was putting everything that really matters at risk. I realized I had a problem and had to change.
When you identify a problem, what do you do? You ask probing questions. So I did. I asked. I prayed. I sought help from a therapist.
Eventually, I pinpointed the lie: I believed my worth was based on what other people thought of me. The problem was I had become a people pleaser. I believed a lie, and it affected my life as if it were true.
Have these examples raised some red flags in your life? Is it time for you to identify a problem? Ask some probing questions? Pinpoint a lie? Maybe a few?
Remember, you are in a battle. The battle is for your mind. Your entire life, Satan has been trying to bait you so he can entice you with lies that will capture and imprison you.
Now it’s time to go on the offensive. Time to change your mindset and your life. Time to get God’s help to capture the lie. I’ll show you how this worked for me, using my confession of overworking.
For years I overachieved and overextended myself in unhealthy ways, just thinking of myself as a hard worker. Finally, I realized that what was driving me wasn’t my work ethic but rather a desperate need to win the approval of other people. I wrongly believed my worth was based on what other people thought of me. I had to replace that lie with the truth.
The truth, not just for me but also for you, is that our value is based not on what we do but on who made us (Psalm 139:13-16). That’s why paintings that may look goofy to me are worth millions of dollars. Because if they were painted by Pablo Picasso, the value is in the hundreds of thousands or millions. So if God made me, I have tremendous value even if I do not have the approval of other people.
The truth, again not just for me but also for you, is that our value is based not on how we feel about ourselves but on what someone else will pay for us (1 Peter 1:18-19). That’s why a Lamborghini that might not impress you is actually worth three hundred thousand dollars. If someone is willing to pay that price, that’s what it’s worth. And if God paid the price of His only son for me, I have infinite value regardless of what other people think of me.
So now whenever I think I need to impress people, I take that thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. The verb tense of “take captive” in the original language of the Bible implies a repeated and continuous action. This is not something you do once. This is something you will have to do thousands of times in your life, maybe dozens of times a day. The definition of a principle is a decision you make once and then live by.
Believe me, I am not saying this process is easy. I am still tempted to believe the lies, and I suspect you will be also. But these battles between our lies and God’s truth are worth fighting! Because waging war is what will change your mindset, redeem your thinking, and ultimately revolutionize your life.
P.S. Order Pastor Craig’s new book here.